THE CAR SEAT
How much to budget for? Dh250 to Dh3,000 depending on the features you are looking for
How long will you use it for? Depending on the seat, anywhere from 12 months to 4 years
This should be at the top of your list – hospitals in the UAE won’t let you take baby home without one and it’s now against the law in this country to drive with a child under four in a car without a car seat – and with good reason. Here are some points to consider:
Infant seat versus Convertible seat
Curved, rear-facing infant car seats are lightweight and practical, and many can be removed easily from the car and slotted into a compatible stroller, meaning you can transport a sleeping baby from car to home without waking them up. Although they are super convenient and are tailored specifically for tiny newborns, the downside is that this type of car seat only tends to last you for the first 12 months until they are outgrown. Convertible car seats on the other hand can last from birth to four years. However, these tend to be a lot heavier and fixed in the car, and since they are much bigger, it can be tricky to find the perfect positioning for a very young infant.
Isofix versus seatbelt
You can secure your car seat either with seatbelts, or isofix attachment points (which most modern cars have). Each has its pros and cons - many parents find it easier to quickly click the seat in and out of isofix points, while the risk of incorrect installation is very low. However not all cars come with isofix and these types of seats can be more expensive, and heavier, than belt-based options.
Most international brands are available here in the UAE. Safety features to look out for include a five-point harness and side-impact protection. Check that yours conforms to the United Nations standard, ECE Regulation 44.04, or the new i-size regulation, R129. Look for the ‘E’ mark label on the seat. Most importantly, buy your car seat new – it’s the only way to be absolutely sure it hasn’t been in an accident before and is damaged. Visit Childcarseats.org.uk for the latest info on international standards, product recalls and expert advice.
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Three of our favourites…
Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus, Dh1,312, Mumzworld.com A big hit with mums thanks to its excellent safety features, ISOFIX compatibiilty and top scores in the comfort factor, this updated version of the classic infant seat will carry your little bundle from birth to one year.
Chicco Keyfit, Dh691, Sprii.com When it comes to affordable options this 0-12 month seat is a fantastic choice that fits with most major stroller brands and can be fixed onto a separate base. The lining is also removable for washing.
BeSafe iZi Go Modular i-Size, Dh999, Noon.com One of the safest seats on the market, it not only exceeds international safety standards, but is also one of the few which has passed the rigorous Swedish Plus crash test. The modular system, which fits to a separately sold base, means when you buy the next seat at 12 months, the same base lasts until your child is four years old.
THE SLEEP SOLUTION
How much to budget for? Dh200 to Dh3,000
How long will you use it for? Anywhere from 12 months to 4 years depending on features
While there might not be a magic solution to blissful newborn sleep, there are plenty of options out there to make sure they start off right…
Bassinet or Moses Basket
These compact, lightweight little sleep baskets mean you can take sleeping baby around the home with you as you get on with everything else – but note that they can only be used for around four months, as they are not secure once your little one can roll over or sit up on their own.
These modern cribs are far safer than having baby in bed, and ease midnight wake-ups by attaching to your bed, with the side of the crib down, so all you have to do is roll over to give baby a feed, or a cuddle. It allows you to keep your baby close, while following safety guidelines to have baby in a separate crib or cot. Sleep positioners These have become popular recently, with brands such as Sleepyhead offering a snug, cocoon-like experience that means baby can be be put down for a nap anywhere. However, there’s been some recent controversy surrounding positioners with some retailers following US authority concerns that the material could be a suffocation risk.
Cot or crib
The traditional choice, be sure to go for a cot that can be adjusted to different heights so that baby is within easy reach in those early months. By the time he is pulling himself up or standing, you can then lower the mattress height.
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Three of our favourites…
Cocoonababy, Dh895, Just Kidding Designed by French paediatricians, this ergonomic nest recreates a womb-like space, and gives baby a slightly curved posture, which can help with reflux and overall development. The tummy band means baby is securely held in place.
Mia Cotbed, Dh3,299, Mamas and Papas This more traditional cot solution has a sleek sleigh design and is adjustable for newborn and toddler sleeping height positions. It’s suitable from birth to four years old, so is a great investment as, when the time is right, the bars can detach to transform into a toddler bed.
Chicco Next2Me Bedside Crib, Dh1,495, Souq.com This clever crib allows you to adjust the height to suit your bed and comes with two fastening straps to tie it in place. You can also zip up one of the padded sides, meaning you can use it as a standalone crib later on.
How much to budget for? Dh230 to Dh3,000
How long will you use it for? Up to 4 years
It might not seem like it during those first few days, but soon enough, you’ll want to get out and about with your little one. Whichever stroller you prefer, go for an option that comes with a bassinet for the first year, which can then be swapped out for an upright seat later on.
There’s lots of choice out there – look for strollers that can easily fold down (ideally with one hand while you hold baby in the other arm); that can be wiped down; and that have space to carry shopping and baby essentials. For this part of the world, it’s also good to look out for some level of UV/sun shade.
Travel systems are compatible with car seats and great for mamas who are on the go a lot.
Like to plan ahead? Consider a Double stroller that can be converted to carry two kids at once. Umbrella strollers are lightweight, fold easily and usually very affordable, although rarely suitable for children under six months old as they don’t offer adequate support.
Jogging strollers are sturdy enough to go running with, but best used with children at least 12 months and above.
Travel strollers are great lightweight options, handy for short trips out, or to take on holiday. Bear in mind though that most travel strollers aren’t suitable until six months, so you may want to invest in a good baby carrier instead.
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Three of our favourites…
Uppababy Vista, Dh4,745, Just Kidding Not only does the bassinet on this smart stroller double as a place for baby to spend the odd overnight when out and about, but it comes with one of the roomiest storage areas on the market. It can also extend to a double stroller when it’s time for baby number two, or for twins.
Baby Plus - Baby Stroller, Dh380, Souq.com A great affordable option, this lightweight stroller is comfy and easy to use, suitable from birth to 18kg.
Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single Stroller, Dh1,675, Sprii.com All-terrain wheels, an adjustable handlebar and hand-operated brake make this perfect for zipping through malls. It also easily folds (onehanded) into a neat size for tucking out the way.
THE CHANGE STATION
How much to budget for? Dh70 to Dh700
How long will you use it for? 6 months to 1-2 years
When you think of the number of times you’ll be changing nappies in a day, making the process as comfortable as possible for both you and baby is well worth it. Many mums like to use changing tables, with a soft pad on top, to give a solid base station for changing, and most come with an array of drawers and storage to keep everything from nappies to creams neatly stored. However, a changing pad on the floor or safely placed on a bed can do the trick just as well. Another decision to make ahead of changing time is whether to go for disposable or reusable nappies. More and more mamas are going down the reusable route for a more eco-friendly (and pocket friendly) option that is more gentle on little behinds (see Eggsnsoldiers.com). However, the ease of throwaway diapers is still hard to beat for most busy mamas.
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Three of our favourites…
Bumbo Changing Pad, Dh345.45, Sprii.com This comfortable little number even comes with its own belt to make sure your little one can’t wriggle away.
Bambo Nature Eco Disposable Diapers, Dh40, Eggsandsoldiers.com Soft and free from harmful chemicals, these disposable diapers offer a greener alternative to traditional disposables, and come in six sizes, from birth to potty trained
Sundvik changing table, Dh695, Ikea.com Comes complete with two spacious drawers, and is easy to convert into a chest of drawers once the nappy.
How much to budget for? Dh200 to Dh2,500
How long will you use it for? Minimum 12 months
Thankfully when it comes to feeding a newborn, there really are only two options, either breastfeeding or formula. The costs are obviously lower when using your own supply, but it doesn’t end there...
Most parents, whether breast or formula feeding, will want to invest in a good quality steriliser to keep all milk bottles, lids, teats and pacifiers hygienically clean. Of course, this can be done equally well by boiling in water, or there are some microwavable sterilising bags. However, for ease and speed, a steriliser is the best option.
Some prefer glass bottles to avoid any risk from leeching chemicals in plastic, but the pros of plastic mean they are more lightweight and of course smash proof. Many bottles now come with special teats that offer internal venting systems to reduce colic, as well as slow and fast flow nipples. The best thing is to try a few on for size with your baby to see what works best.
Most breastfeeding mamas will benefit from investing in a breast pump, which allows you to express milk for baby to be given in a bottle, meaning someone else can give a feed while you take some time out. They can also help you to build your own milk supply. Options range from simple, hand-held pumps to electric, hospital grade pumps that will efficiently extract good volumes of milk in a short space of time. Electric options with double pumps are often best for working mamas who are planning on pumping often, while for occasional use, a manual option is usually sufficient, if a bit more effort.
Many breastfeeding mums also rely on a good breastfeeding pillow, which is shaped around the waist and usually clips in place to give a secure base to feed baby.
For formula feeds, other key kit to consider includes formula makers for bottle feeding which measure, make and warm bottles for you.
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Three of our favourites…
Philips Avent Electric Steriliser 3 In 1, Dh449, Desertcart.ae Fast, efficient and saves space in your kitchen - transforms into three different sizes to suit your needs and sterilises in six minutes.
Medela Freestyle Breastpump, Dh2,100, Babyshop A favourite brand with breastfeeding mums, this electric double pump comes in a discreet bag for mums on the go and is a great time saver.
Babybrezza Formula Pro, Dh855, Mumzworld Measure, dispense and mix water and powdered formula to the perfect temperature and consistency. With the push of a button, prepare a bottle in seconds.
How much to budget for? Dh400 to Dh2,000
How long will you use it for? Around 12 months
Many prefer the peace of mind that comes with a baby monitor, so you can keep tabs on your little one while they are napping. But with everything from cameras synced with smartphone apps, to monitors that can record and download video, there’s lots to consider. The most important thing is connectivity and finding a monitor that suits your home, allowing you to watch baby without having to suspend the base unit from the ceiling. Some of the latest WI-FI options are secure, super clear and allow you to check on baby with a few quick swipes of your phone. They are also perfect for working mamas who want to keep tabs on nap time from the office. If that all sounds a bit more than you need, there are plenty of excellent traditional options that are still loaded with handy features such as the ability to pan the room and zoom in.
Two of our favourites…
Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor MBP2 White, Dh492.45, sprii.com A great affordable option, this digital wireless baby monitor has a two inch LCD colour display and infrared night vision. It also comes with a good range to allow you to move around the house.
Arlo Baby, Dhs 1,899, uae.sharafdg.com Cute bunny design aside, this high-tech piece of kit packs a lot of punch, with crystal clear HD video beamed straight to your smartphone. As well as playing lullabies, white noise or soothing lights for your baby, this impressive camera records the air quality and temperature in the nursery, and gives sound alerts which can specifically tell if a baby is crying.
How much to budget for? Dh30 to Dh250
How long will you use it for? 6 to 12 months
Without doubt one of the most fun, and at times nerve-wracking, parenting moments is bathing your baby. Perfect for those keen to save space, sink inserts are a hassle free way to bathe your newborn without having to break a sweat. The flexible moulds fit neatly into most sinks and have the added bonus that you don’t have to bend over a bath. It’s worth noting that baby will outgrow the sink by about four months. Most parents tend to go for the basin tub option, a standalone tub that sits directly into your bath, meaning your little one is safely supported. These can be used pretty much anywhere, and most come with a newborn insert for some extra support, that can be removed as baby grows.
Three of our favourites…
Blooming Bath Baby Bath Dh64.99 , Souq.com Not only does this sink insert look super cute, but the flower shape fits easily into most sinks and is super soft on baby’s skin.
Newborn-to-toddler fold away baby bath, Dh177, Mamas and Papas A great option that also folds easily for storage and travel. The spacious tub comes with a special positioner that can be removed as your baby grows.
Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge, Dh40, Sprii.com One of those unassuming pieces of kit that actually proves indispensable, this lightweight sponge fits easily into a sink or baby bath tub, for a snug baby bathing experience.
My top baby shopping list by Dru Campbell, Head Midwife and Lactation Consultant IBCLC), HealthBay Polyclinic
- Nappies (disposable or cloth nappies)
- Changing mat and changing bag
- Baby wipes
- Nappy cream - coconut oil in small amounts is a wonderful way of naturally moisturising your baby. It is common for babies to have dry skin in the first two weeks of life. Place a small amount of coconut oil in your baby’s bath.
- Baby bath
- Soft baby towels
- A cot and/or bassinet
- Firm mattress with fitted sheet - must fit the cot snugly without leaving any spaces around the edges.
- Sleeping bag - ensure the bag is well fitting and made of a light and breathable fabric such as cotton. A good option instead of a blanket to reduce the chance of your baby overheating
- Baby carrier (wrap or pod sling)
- Car seat/pram combination
- Clothing for your baby - I recommend buying very practical outfits such as baby grows, newborn socks and hats. It is useful to buy some newborn size clothing, but also some 0-3 months as babies tend to grow very quickly